In a modern world both publications and the data underlying them are equally important parts of research and their value and potential to contribute to innovation are maximized when the publications and data are made openly available.
We therefore very much welcome the recognition of the importance of open data, as reflected in the creation of Data61. We also support the idea that new and additional ways of recognizing the impact of universities is needed – beyond traditional publications.
The Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements, which was announced on Friday, acknowledged the importance of open access to research results.
This is a pivotal moment and there is an opportunity now to ensure that as part of, and in order to drive, innovation, open access to all parts of the research lifecycle – publications and data – is supported.
Hence, what will be important is the implementation of such recommendations and also how “open” is defined. The Open Access policy of the Higher Education Funding Council for England is a good model for driving open access to the research literature, with its emphasis on deposition of research results published in journal articles into an open access repository within 3 months of acceptance and made openly available at 12 or 24 months at the latest, with credits given to outputs that can be text mined – that is with a license that allows reuse.
Open access to research data is now also increasingly being recognized as being a critical part of ensuring that research is reproducible. Publishers and universities, along with agencies such as ANDS, are developing the necessary policies and processes.
We look forward to working on the consultation for, and implementation of, the new initiatives and would specifically highlight the need for:
- Adequate investment in the infrastructure to support open access to publications and data, including physical infrastructure such as repositories and in the skills needed to manage these policies and processes
- Appropriate consideration of licensing arrangements (such as through Creative Commons licenses) associated with all research outputs so that they can not only be accessed but also reused in the way that will maximize their impact.